Want to get more engaged in international affaires? The first thing you need to do is establish a good list of sources where you get all of your news. While some news websites have devoted “international” sections, it is best to find news sources that are devoted primarily towards international news. These will be your best sources for up to date information, and will be your key to understanding the fast moving world of global affairs.
The most important thing to remember about news sources, especially ones that report international news, is that no one source is sufficient to develop a real understanding of world events. There are many highly renowned news organizations, but none are free of bias.
Here is a list of eight news sources to help you get started. This list is not meant to identify one news source for you to visit solely, but a variety of outlets that should all be explored in order to gain a well rounded opinion.
1. BBC World
The BBC has a long and respected history of news reporting, having been launched almost 100 years ago and now holds the mantle as the world’s largest news organization. The network itself is so large that its world news department alone is larger than some of the other networks listed here, allowing it to reliably report on any major event anywhere in the world, and is without a pay wall. The world news website allows readers to sort through stories by continent, and gives access to more in depth articles and documentaries. It is written mainly from the British and Western perspective.
2. Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera is an excellent source for news in the Middle East. Launched in 1996, the network has risen to prominence off the back of its coverage of the 2003 Iraq War and the Arab Spring in 2011. It has since remained one of the premiere sources for exclusive, up to date coverage of the Middle East region. Many have touted it for its circumvention of censorship by Middle Eastern governments, with even Hilary Clinton commenting in 2011 that its growing popularity was due to its reporting “real news”, in contrast to many American networks. It too has not implemented a pay wall system.
Based in New York City, Reuters is a news agency oriented primarily towards international and financial based news, employing several thousand journalists around the world. Most other major news networks themselves subscribe to Reuters for news updates, which has offices in over 90 countries and operates in all major languages. Readers can choose between over 15 national editions, all offered in the national language with unlimited access.
4. All Africa
With a continent as large and diverse as Africa, and one with so much going on, it is difficult to find a source of information that finds the most important stories. The geopolitical importance of Africa only makes it more crucial to be up to date on its affairs, and from outside a strictly Western perspective. Instead of itself being a news source, All Africa aggregates news articles taken from sources all over the continent, and offers them without a pay wall. The website allows readers to search stories by country, topic, or area, including development, conflict, and diplomacy.
The New York Times and its global edition, the International Herald Tribune, provide excellent, up to date news stories on current world events. Typically articles by the New York Times are longer, more in depth, and analysis based – focusing as much on the causes and implications of what they’re reporting as on the events themselves. As such, it is a very good source for identifying the smaller details of regional stories that indicate larger trends in global affairs. It is behind a pay wall of 10 free articles a month however, which will add up quickly.
In terms of a sound Canadian source for international news, The Globe and Mail is one of the leading publications that will keep you informed of world affairs. Similar to the BBC, the Globe’s world news section can be organized into regions for easier navigation, but unlike the BBC, it is behind a pay wall that restricts readers to 10 free articles a month. The Globe’s business orientation has also led to the inclusion of an International Business category alongside its regional areas of interest, which distinguishes it from other prominent Canadian new sources.
Like All Africa, Real Clear World is a news aggregator with a devoted staff that selects noteworthy news and commentary items from publications around the world. An excellent source for finding stories that may have slipped under the radar of the larger publications more interested in noteworthy headlines, Real Clear World sifts through the deluge of news and finds the lesser known stories worth reading, even if their significance isn’t clear just yet.
The use and significance of Twitter has grown enormously in recently years, to the point where a well connected Twitter user could find all of their news just from whom they’re following on the site. Engaging with Twitter will expose you to a world of news sources and perspectives. In a way, Twitter is all of the previously mentioned news sources combined, only with millions of more outlets to choose from. All major news publications have one (or several) Twitter accounts which are usually very active, either posting links to their own articles or tweeting updates on developing stories. Connecting to news sources is just the tip of the iceberg however, as Twitter allows you to follow and receive updates from anyone; be it individual journalists on the ground, activists involved in or even currently a part of an ongoing crisis, or politicians, all giving live updates.
It can be difficult to know where to start with Twitter when it comes to sorting through whom to follow, and how to organize their updates. Some lesser known Twitter users offer just as valuable information and insight as the large, sponsored ones. The best thing you can do is explore.
- A good place to start is WeFollow, which not only ranks the most prominent users into categories such as “news” and politics”, but also has a search engine that allows you to search Twitter for users you might be interested in
- If you already have a large number of users you’re following on Twitter, one good way to sort through them to isolate just the foreign policy or news accounts is by creating lists, from which you can access to see updates from only those who are on them. You can do this directly through Twitter, or use one of the many Google Chrome extensions or websites available, one of which is Twitlistmanager
- An excellent Google Chrome extension to easily access your lists is TweetDeck, which allows you to organize them however you like, bringing all of your “favourited” world news headlines to the forefront
*There are a number of things you can try to get around pay walls. Using a different browser like Safari or Internet Explorer will reset your article count on these websites, while searching the title of an article into google can sometimes bring it up on a different, unlocked website